A slew of Sony stores across North America have discounted the price of the 3G PlayStation Vita, with some outlets explaining that it’s because the premium console is about to be discontinued. Joystiq reports that you can currently purchase a bundle including a 3G handheld, an 8GB memory card, and a free PlayStation Network game (assuming you sign up to a data contract) for $199.97 from a majority of official outlets in the States.

The website continues that when contacted, an employee at the Denver location explained that the significant price drop was due to a discontinuation of the model. Shops in New Jersey and Las Vegas offered a similar explanation, while Seattle countered that the promotion was set to conclude on Sunday. Other retailers weren’t aware of the offer at all.

Last month, Sony dropped the price of the Vita’s Wi-Fi and 3G SKUs to ¥19,980 in Japan. Speaking after the manufacturer’s big PlayStation 4 coming out party, Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida explained that the price would not be reduced overseas. SCEJ president Hiroshi Kawano later added that the reason that the 3G system was reduced to the same price as its Wi-Fi counterpart was to eliminate confusion.

"Our impression was that some customers felt the whole thing was too complicated," he told Famitsu magazine. “They didn't really follow the difference between the 3G and Wi-Fi models, and they didn't really get how 3G worked. So maybe it's a forceful kind of approach, but we thought we should keep it simple. You can use the 3G model in nothing but Wi-Fi if you like, and that's ok, because they're both the same price.”

There has been some speculation that Sony’s planning to introduce a 4G version of the Vita, which could explain the reason for the discounts. However, it’s more likely that the manufacturer’s simply planning to phase out the more expensive model in favour of focusing on the standard Wi-Fi unit. Of course, that’s if it intends to discontinue the model at all. Let us know if you own a 3G Vita in the comments section below.

[via joystiq.com]